Remembering Patrick Werner

On November 30, 2019, the Americas Region of Democrats Abroad lost a respected colleague, trusted friend, great Democrat, and the founder and courageous leader of Democrats Abroad Nicaragua, Patrick Werner, to a heart attack. Patrick had not been ill, so his sudden death brings not only sadness but shock as well. He is survived by his wife, Chilo, two sons, and several grandchildren. During 2016 and into 2017, under the guidance of the then Regional Vice Chair, Jody Quinnell, and personal visits to Nicaragua from her then Deputy, Kathy Rothschild, Patrick organized the Democrats Abroad Nicaragua country committee which was voted in as a full member of the DPCA at the May 2017 Global Meeting in Washington, DC. Then in early 2018, as protests inside Nicaragua over increased taxes and reduced benefits for Social Security erupted and spread, all non-Sandinista political groups became targets, which by extension, included Democrats Abroad. The new country committee had to assume a low profile and led by Patrick’s understanding of the local social and political climate; the country committee strove to maintain active status. Looking toward 2020, Patrick attended the Americas Regional Meeting held in San Jose, Costa Rica, October 25 and 26, of this year.

In addition to guiding Democrats Abroad Nicaragua, Patrick was a very accomplished person and a master of many pursuits. He was a university professor, a journalist, an anthropologist, a historian, an orchidologist, a silver and gold miner, a horse aficionado, and a Democrat. He resided in Nicaragua for more than 30 years, most of the time in Diriamba, near Managua.  He loved Nicaragua and wrote that “It is not for nothing that I stay in Nicaragua. And if it can be said that, to me, its politics are the most boring aspect of Nicaraguan life, its cuisine, its origins, elements, and subtleties, maybe its most interesting.” Patrick was prolific in his personal and professional writing. He produced Nicaragua’s first complete book of its 600 native orchid species, along with other books and articles on Nicaragua’s botanical attributes. He led Eastern European journalists through the mountains of Nicaragua during the Contra war years and wrote about those times, and about his search for lost silver mines, and explorations to uncover colonial-era horse paraphernalia. Central American colonial history was dear to him, and he pursued many studies and produced numerous articles related to that interest.